|The goal of every recruiter is to select and hire the best employees they can possibly find. Unfortunately, recruitment decisions are usually influenced by unconscious biases, making it difficult to find the best job candidates / Photo by: Andrea De Martin via 123RF|
The goal of every recruiter is to select and hire the best employees they can possibly find. Unfortunately, recruitment decisions are usually influenced by unconscious biases, making it difficult to find the best job candidates. These biases can even lead to imbalances in the hiring process, which can result in uniformity in the workplace instead of diversity. Diversity is extremely important not only in enhancing employee experience but also beneficial to the whole company.
However, gender imbalance is apparent throughout the whole process of job searching. A report shows that men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications. Meanwhile, women apply only if they meet 100% of them. According to Software Advice, the leading online service for businesses navigating the software selection process, a Gartner survey reveals that the processes most susceptible to bias are hiring decisions and promotion decisions (29%). This is followed by performance appraisals (12%), succession planning (11%), pay decisions (10%), and coaching and development (8%).
Today, HR departments are increasingly using artificial intelligence to reduce the workload associated with the recruitment process, particularly in the early stages of filtering through candidates. AI systems are also being implemented to filter huge numbers of applicants so only a small pool of applications are selected for employers to view. For instance, FMCG giant Unilever deployed an AI software to analyze video interviews last year. It was reported that 100,000 hours of human recruitment time was saved.
Also, AI holds the greatest promise for eliminating bias. According to Forbes, a global media company focusing on business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and lifestyle, the more a company removes human intervention in the hiring process, the less bias there will be that can influence decision-making.
Bias in Job Ads
Unfortunately, human bias doesn’t only exist in the whole hiring process but also the moment a recruiter writes and posts job descriptions. Research has proven that gendered words and phrases reinforce gender stereotypes, particularly in the workplace. These words include “boastful” and “sympathetic.” The researchers coded a list of adjectives and verbs and labeled them either masculine or feminine. After that, they searched for a popular job site using gendered words.
According to The Next Web, a website and annual series of conferences focused on new technology and start-up companies in Europe, the researchers discovered that job ads in male-dominated jobs are using masculine-coded language such as “dominate” or “leader.” This discourages women from applying to those jobs because they feel like “they don’t belong.” Other problematic terms and phrases that job ads are using include ambitious, analytical, assertive, autonomous, best of the best, and competitive salary.
Gendered language can be determined if it statistically changes the proportion of men and women responding to a job post. “The bias in your original job post or recruiting email predict who you’re going to hire. This makes sense; the language you use changes who applies to your job, and you’re much more likely to hire a woman into a tech role if your pipeline has several women to consider,” Marissa Coughlin, Senior Director of Communications at Textio, said.
Addressing issues like this can help in increasing diversity in the workplace. Women can be more represented in various jobs. But workplace diversity is not just political. A study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) discovered that diverse companies produce 19% more revenue. This shows that employees will not only benefit from this but the companies will, too. Thus, eliminating job ads that can deter women from applying can be a great help. Companies need to use gender-neutral terms to receive a broader applicant pool. It is projected that those positions will be filled three weeks faster compared to jobs using biased language.
Earlier this year, Seattle-based company Textio introduced an AI-driven solution that can help HR staffers write better job postings, according to CNBC, the world leader in business news and real-time financial market coverage. Zillow Group, a Textio client, reported an 11% increase of women in its interview pool. Annie Rihn, vice president of recruiting at Zillow, stated that the software opened their eyes to how much inclusive language can impact hiring performance.
Textio Flow is using AI to analyze job descriptions in real-time. It can highlight jargon, boring bits, and words that could be labeled as masculine or feminine. At the same time, the software can predict how different people will respond to the content and suggest alternatives. Textio Flow can do this through a database with more than half a billion documents. It also provides a “Tone Meter” which shows the overall gender tone of a document.
While some of the tool’s suggestions might not seem like a big deal, it can greatly help. For instance, changing “exceptional” with “extraordinary” is statistically proven to attract more female applicants. According to Fast Company, the world's leading progressive business media brand, the tool also creates recommendations after studying a certain company’s prior hiring data, which includes applicant qualifications and demographics.
The company’s client base grew by more than 200%, with clients including Nvidia, CVS, and Evernote. “We’re at the point where there are enough customers using Textio that they can prove out the results,” CEO Kieran Snyder said. Many of them reported significant results. For instance, Johnson & Johnson reported a 9% increase in its female applicants in just a year after using Textio Flow.
This shows how AI can help in increasing and improving workplace diversity. It is slowly being implemented in hiring processes to address issues that have long been neglected by companies.
|Earlier this year, Seattle-based company Textio introduced an AI-driven solution that can help HR staffers write better job postings, according to CNBC / Photo by: kenishirotie via 123RF|